For many moons, rosé has been the cheap-o wine that your Aunt Maude always brings to Christmas. They’re sweet. They have little-to-no body. There’s kind of a negative value perception with the usually low price point. And for gosh sakes, Julia Child was a fan.

But, just like Aunt Maude’s knitting hobby and everything Julia Child, old = hip again. Negative value perception? No such thing during a recession. Little-to-no-body? That means it’s versatile and accessible. And sweetness…well, let’s just say there are lots of dry rosés with plenty of body. Paired with moscato, it’s the new gateway wine, and everyone wants a piece of it (to be fair, Europeans have been into rosé way before us…old world and all, you know. For intense rosé fans, check out grenache /some Sardinian rosés).

How to pair a rosé

Well, according to Ms. Child, rosé can be served with just about anything–and Jeffrey Saad claims that a dry or off-dry rose wine will go well with everything because

There is enough acid to match the acid in a salad. There is enough fruit to off set a spicy food; there is just enough tannin from the minimal skin contact to stand up to most protein. And it looks so pretty!

For those looking for more guidance, here are our ideas:

  • Soft goat cheeses – feta, ricotta, & mahon
  • Spicy Chinese/Thai dishes
  • Pizza (no lie)

How does a rosé come into being?

There are three ways to produce this pale red hue:

  • Skin contact
    Basically, the color of wine (and everything that goes with that) is the product of how long the skins of dark grapes are left in contact with the juice. White wines = very little; red wines = fermented with the grape skins; and rosé = just a few days, then discarded before undergoing fermentation.
  • Saignée
    This term comes from the French term for bleeding.  When red wines are produced, and the vintner wants to impart more color/tannins to the wine, he/she removes (bleeds) some of the juice, which can then be used to ferment a rosé.
  • Blending
    When a papa red wine meets a mama white wine, they can blend together to create a rosé. This method is highly uncommon, and is even illegal in most parts of France (cue sex jokes).

Looking for ways to enhance your rose experience? Take to YouTube:

Spices of Life: Discovering Rose Wines Part III

It’s almost time.

Beaujolais Day is kind of an unsung holiday in the US. Sandwiched between Halloween and Thanksgiving, it’s an excellent excuse to celebrate something that’s a little Old World with New World.

What “is” Beaujolais Day?

At one minute past midnight on the 3rd Thursday in November, over a million cases of this wine begin their travels from the vineyards that produced them. The French declare,

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!


The Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived!

As you can imagine, in France it has become almost mythic. It’s a literal race to be the first to serve the year’s first Beaujolais Nouveau, whether by boat, truck or bike.  This single harvest accounts for over 1/2 of the produce from the Beaujolais region.

Who’s this Georges Dubeouf?

Basically, the largest marketer and producer of Beaujolais Nouveau, as derived from the Gamay grape–or, stop into the store, and we’ll introduce him to ya😉

Ok, I get it’s a tradition…but does it taste good?

This is pretty much the closest you’ll get to a white wine in a red wine–practically zero tannins, and flavors of strawberry and strawberry. Since the wine is picked, pressed, and bottled so quickly, it doesn’t ferment as long as most reds, and as such, it’s a very fruity, easy-to-suck-down kinda wine. It can also be served chilled, which is considered a no-no for most reds, but adds to quaff-ability.

As a side note, this wine pairs well with most Thanksgiving dishes, and is very popular since it’s so light, and is a great gateway from white wines to red wines.

So get in line, and get bottles of Nouveau before it’s delivered by boat!*

*i.e. the slowest method of travel.

November edition:

Leinenkugels Big Eddy (#2)

It’s been a couple years since Leinie’s released Big Eddy, a Russian Imperial Stout (the first and only was released in 2007).  It’s named after the Big Eddy spring that flows through Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, home of the Leinenkugel’s brewing. Todd (from Beer Advocate) provides this history on the varietal:

Known among the grandest of all beer styles, the Russian Imperial Stout style was originally created in nineteenth century England to impress the Imperial Czarist court of Russia. The beer was brewed with high alcohol content and generous quantities of hops to preserve it against the elements on its grueling journey across the Baltic Sea.

Since it came in on the first, we’ve already gone through 7 cases (considering it’s $12.99 for a 4pk, that’s pretty awesome).

Founders Harvest Ale

Out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders Brewing Co. has emerged as one of the premier innovative craft breweries in the country. Harvest Ale, available only through the month of November, is exemplary of their finely-tuned brews–in their own words,

This liquid dream pours a hazy golden orange straw color with a white, two-finger head. Your first sip of this beer rewards you with a super juicy hop presence bursting with citrus, then finishes to introduce toasted malt undertones.

And it’s available for a limited time at Chicone’s Liquor Mart, so stop in and get one…or both. November only!

It’s fall, which for beer drinkers means lots-o-Oktoberfests & pumpkin beers; for wine drinkers, it’s Beaujolais; and for spirit/cocktail types?

Apple Pie.

Unfamiliar with this deep, downhome ‘Sconnie drink? Here’s our favorite recipe. Be warned; she packs a mean punch:

750oz Everclear
1 gallon apple juice
1 gallon apple cider
1 cup sugar
7 cinnamon sticks

Heat apple juice, apple cider, sugar, and cinnamon sticks together till boiling. Allow to cool before stirring in Everclear.

For a little bit more punch, add some Hot 100! schnapps in addition to the Everclear. Depending on how much you add, this is a great drink to shoot or sip. And for more cocktail fun, check out Chicone’s recipes page.

(Google the title if you don’t get it).

For those who missed out on the 4th Annual Oktoberfest Cruise, do not fear. Here comes a photo play-by-play of the night.



As a special treat, Rush River poured their not-yet-bottled brown ale for cruise attendees. That's our fearless leader, Nater, AKA "The Beard," gettin' it done.






Intrepid duo Doug & Dom preparing for the onslaught. T-10 minutes til boarding!



"Hi there, welcome on board. Here is your complimentary tasting glass. There's beer on all 3 levels, so feel free to meander around until dinner is served."



It was UNSEASONABLY warm (like, 80+ degrees). So naturally, most of the 189 people worked their way to the open-air 3rd level, and the 30+ beers available for tasting.



Our friends from Lift Bridge, located in Stillwater, MN!



Mark of Sand Creek Brewing Co. doing what he does best: beer.



Midway through the cruise, dinner is served. It's a nice way to settle in with old or new friends. Like these fine folks.



This is Mike Lewis, an old bud of Chicone's. Mike, what are you doing, filling out all those entries for prizes...?



One of the most popular tables on the boat, "Polecat" from Schell's and Richie from Chicone's served up both beer and tattoos. Yup. Tattoos.



Finally. The part of the Oktoberfest that really drives it home: The Squires. They do everything from Elvis to polkas to that Einz Zwei Drei PROST! chant.


So, this definitely ensures that you’ll hop on board next year, right? It’s a fun time with lots of people. Apparently, it’s becoming something of a popular event, so be sure to buy your tickets early. Chicone’s hosts a few other cruises with our Afton Cruise Lines peeps, with the next one coming up in May for Cinco de Mayo. So put away the G’suffas and get ready. Er, I mean…arriba!

I admit. I’ve never been to Oktoberfest in Munich. So can I really tell you how a boat ride down the St. Croix River really stacks up? Of course I can–because it doesn’t stack up. Not at all. What, did you think I’d seriously try to make a case for coming to Hudson, Wisconsin over Germany?


The Squires--they do everything from "In Heaven There Is No Beer" to "Unchained Melody"

However, if you aren’t planning on heading to Munich this year, I think we put on a pretty good show. Especially if by “putting on a pretty good show” we mean “drinking 50+ awesome beers in unlimited quantities.”

Authentic? No.

Beer maids? Not really.

Polka? Heck yes!

Awesome beer selection? You bet your bippy.

For our Oktoberfest selection, we bring in more local guys. Think New Glarus, , Leinenkugels, , Schell’s, Capital, and a literal slew of others. We also make an effort to mix it up a little bit with the selection, so in addition to pouring Oktoberfest/Marzen brews, there’s also great selections of autumn brews like pumpkin beersand whatever else we come across that deserves some time in the spotlight…and in your tummy.

Included in your ticket price is not only unlimited drinks and a sweet-ass polka band ( is also a traditional German meal. This translates as pretty much any food with -wurst added to the end.

Pouring a Capital for our rep!

So hopefully you’re sold on joining us this year. It’s coming up quickly so get your ducks in a row and get on the boat!

Who: Chicone’s Liquor Mart & Afton Hudson Cruise Lines

What: Oktoberfest Cruise

Where: Departs Hudson, WI docks

When: October 9, 2010 :: Boat leaves at 6:30pm

Price: $44.95

Buy your tickets online at Afton Hudson Cruise Lines!

We’re happy to report to no longer be suffering from a dearth of Dogfish Head–stop in / e-mail for current inventory–but we’re still waiting on some old favorites.  In case you’re also sad and missing your friendly, dogfish-y brews, here’s what’s up. As the tag says, “No Bitches in Michigan” which could also go for Wisco. But we all knew that already, right?

The good folks in Michigan just rejected our label submission for Bitches Brew. That’s the beer we are doing with Sony to celebrate the 40th anniversary if the eponymous Miles Davis album (it’ll be out towards the end of August). Apparently, they don’t like the word ‘bitches.’

Stay tuned as we work to get this stuff in-state. Maybe we need to do a “Boardwalk Empire”-style run-it-in-hot kinda racket!


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